so, by now i’ve gotten settled into my new place, so to speak, as i’ll only be there for a month, and i need to make it to my place of work, so to speak. fortunately, porto has a great public transit system. to get from world spru to hospital são joão one must simply take the metro to trindade station (any line going away from estadio do dragão will do) and there transfer to the yellow line in the direction of hospital são joão. no problems there. after a decent night’s sleep and a renewed confidence in my abilities to navigate a foreign city, finding hospital são joão is no overwhelming task. once there, i am picked up from the main entrance by dr. pestana and his current team which includes two residents (joana number 1, and katerina, one resident is actually on vacation when i first arrive) and two medical students (joana number 2 and margarida). the two medical students just happen to be in their final year of medical school, as well, which is not as fortunate as it seems, as 6th (final in europe) year med studs have to not only complete and present there thesis during this year but also study for what i take to be the equivalent of our step I & II combined. awful, yes, i know. my sympathy goes out to al the 6th years i encountered at hospital são joão…
reading any of my “predecessors” blogs will inform one that normal days, start at around 8. the residents and med studs see their patients and write notes in the hardcopy charts. afterwards there’s a coffee/snack break, and then the team checks with the nurses and looks over the nurses’ notes and proceeds to write the electronic notes. the attending will see the patients after the team, but before break, when he is not seeing consults that morning.
i meet the team at around 1020, which means their in the middle of their day, but it’s cool. the have already seen their patients, and it’s not time for a coffee/snack break, so we head to refeitória (the cafeteria). we all get snacks and then head back up the office. this is where all the planning, note writing, discussing, and [most of the] teaching takes places. it is here i learn that the 4th floor medicine team is divided into 4 teams that share the 4th floor office, and it is here that i meet everyone from all 4 teams…
the rest of the “workday” is spent writing notes and discussing patients, until around 2 o’clock.
downtown (centro do) porto
after i leave the hospital i head downtown. for one, i want to see a bit of the city, and two, there’s still enough time in the day to stop by the international students office. so from the hospital, i take the tram (and i use the terms tram and metro interchangeably here because the porto metro system is more accurately characterized as a tram and not a metro) down to aliados (on the yellow line) and manage my way up to reitoria. finding reitoria was not exactly easy. porto is one of those city’s which is comprised of dozens and hills which means that sometimes if one thinks one knows where one is on a map, one can’t really tell from one’s surroundings how to get where one is going. that being said, i actually did make it to reitoria (where the international student’s office is located) without walking in a ridiculously circuitous route. however, i did stop and ask for directions about every 100 meters. thank goodness for the little bit of portuguese i knew and the hospitality of portuguese.
i get to the reitoria and find the international student’s office within. i get there and i notice two guys sitting in the reception area. i sit down, and what do i notice but that they are speaking french to each other, and not drawled, nasal french of montréal nor the leisurely articulated french of the swiss but true french of france. naturally i butt in and insert myself into their conversation, and who have i met but two parisians here, studying pharmacy for a few months. health care workers unite! lisa dequech finally has everything ready for us and now comes to invite us in to her office. apparently i was supposed to have made an appointment to meet with her, but since one of the other students hadn’t shown up (which had kept the parisians waiting for the last couple hours), she gladly adjusted the packet and presentation to fit me in. in this meeting we are introduced to porto through lisa’s presentation, given the rundown about how erasmus (including myself even though i’m from america) can stay plugged into what’s going on in this city, given a packet with maps, lots of useful information, and our temporary student cards. if you find yourself at this meeting in the near, or far, future make sure to opt in for the moche card. that way you can keep in touch with all the international students for free (minus the cost of buying a cheap european mobile, ~20euros).
after the meeting the parisians and i exchange contact information and head our separate ways. i take a little stroll around downtown before heading home by foot, just to take in a little more of the area, and i must say that porto is a beautiful place to be. world spru is about half an hour’s walk back from downtown, which is not bad at all with such beautiful weather as we have right now.
when i get back to world spru, i’m certainly hungry but in no mood or disposition to go grocery shopping, so i head to one of the local restaurants around the corner. the local eateries in campaña are decent to good, as i just ended up getting a spinach omelet and fries (which they threw in some rice and bread) with wine of which they gave me half a liter—they really know how to have dinner here in porto.